IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Texas man arrested after seven dogs fatally maul elderly man in unprovoked attack

Samuel Cartwright, 47, was arrested and charged in connection to the death of 71-year-old Freddy Garcia, according to the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff Eric Fagan speaks during a press conference
Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan at a news conference after a fatal dog attack in Fresno, Texas, on July 18.Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office via YouTube

A 47-year-old man is in police custody after his seven dogs fatally attacked a 71-year-old man in Fresno, Texas, last week, police said.

Police arrested and charged Samuel Cartwright with attack by dog resulting in death — a second-degree felony in Texas — after his pit bull mixes allegedly mauled Freddy Garcia in an unprovoked attack July 18 as Garcia walked to a neighborhood store in Fresno, an unincorporated community about 20 miles south of Houston, at about 1:30 p.m., the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook.

Emergency responders transported Garcia by helicopter to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in downtown Houston, where he was later pronounced dead, the sheriff's office said at a news conference last week.

A subsequent investigation conducted by the sheriff's office, Fort Bend Animal Control and the Fort Bend County district attorney's office identified Cartwright as the owner of the dogs; sheriff's deputies and animal control officers had captured all seven by Tuesday, according to the sheriff's office.

Cartwright is in the Fort Bend County Jail on bond of $100,000.

"This devastating tragedy didn’t have to happen," Sheriff Eric Fagan said in a statement. "I extend my deepest condolences to the Garcia family and his neighbors as they adjust to the loss of Mr. Garcia."

Garcia's family members described him to KTRK-TV of Houston as "youthful, "full of life" and "really joyful," adding that he loved to dance and sing.

Officials urged residents to take responsibility for their dogs.

"If you have a dangerous dog, it is your responsibility to keep that dog secure, to keep the members in our community safe," District Attorney Brian Middleton said at a news conference last week.

"I can tell you, as district attorney, if you fail to do that, you will be held accountable," Middleton said, pointing to a 2007 Texas law that holds a dog owner responsible for an attack if he or she acts with "criminal negligence" by failing to secure the dog or "knows the dog is a dangerous dog."

Under the law, Cartwright could face two to 20 years in prison and fined $10,000, Middleton said at the news conference.

"If you own an animal that you know could, may possibly, bite, please — the law states the animal should be either on a leash, the animal should be within the fence. It's about having physical control," Rene Vasquez, director of Fort Bend County Animal Services, said at the news conference.